John Blanchette, a veteran Hollywood publicist whose clients included Bob Hope, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jane Fonda and, in sickness and in health, Zsa Zsa Gabor, has died. He was 68.
Blanchette died Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica after a brief battle with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia, the Santa Monica Mirror reported
Blanchette served as Gabor’s publicist for some 30 years. In 2011, he kept the media informed when the socialite was rushed to the hospital with high-blood pressure after she learned of the death of Elizabeth Taylor, her friend and neighbor. Later that year and in 2012, she broke her hip in a fall, had hip replacement surgery and had her right leg amputated. Gabor turned 97 on Feb. 6.
Blanchette also was known for creating major media events for the Hollywood Wax Museum. He once convinced authorities to rope off Hollywood Boulevard so that the Rockettes could set a world record for the longest kick line.
He also prompted headlines in 1997 when, shortly after Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield during a prizefight, the museum moved a wax figure of the boxer from its Sports Hall of Fame exhibit into its Chamber of Horrors, right next to Hannibal Lecter.
Blanchette’s clients also included Cary Grant, Zsa Zsa's sister Eva Gabor, Debbie Reynolds, James Earl Jones, Shirley MacLaine, David Hasselhoff, Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney, Valerie Harper, Michael Jackson, Hugh Hefner, Josh Hartnett, Doris Roberts, Ned Beatty, Bryan Cranston, Halle Berry, Charles Porter and figure skaters Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia.
He represented the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors and the Sci-Fi Awards and helped promote such films as Il Postino (1994), Shine (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), Halloween H2O (1998), Argo (2012) and Behind the Candelabra (2013).
Based in Santa Monica, Blanchette also had a career as a travel writer.